The Alzheimer's Association says every 71 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease. A rate that will only increase as the baby boom population continues to age.
This week the 2008 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report was released. Mary Bouche, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Wisconsin, says many affected by the disease should be in assisted living. However, because these communities are not covered by Medicare, Alzheimer's patients often end up in nursing homes that are better equipped for physical types of illness. She claims those afflicted with dementia may be actually be physically "healthy" but are in need of greater cognitive care, something these facilities cannot properly provide.
According to the report, annually in Wisconsin, 180,000 unpaid caregivers provide about 154 million hours of care a year, for the disease or some related dementia. That's a value of more than 1.6 billion dollars a year. Bouche says often it's family members giving the free care. That's why she emphasizes that funding is so important for research and proper care.